The return of the Lackawanna College School of Petroleum & Natural Gas (PNG) Sporting Clay Tournament on Sept. 23 drew more than 120 men and women to Hausmann’s Hidden Hollow in Susquehanna County. Coterra Energy started the event in 2013 to bring attention to the new school and to raise funds that would help offset the cost of tuition for students and for programming.
We put the popular event into the capable hands of Lackawanna College staff and their PNG students in 2019, a year after we came through with a commitment of $2.5 million to the school, which has helped fuel the local gas industry with more than 200 fresh employees.
Even after getting beyond our original endowment, we’re happy to continue to support the clay shoot tournament because the school is doing such great work. Coterra Energy has been instrumental in getting the school off the ground, and the clay shoot has been an important part of building the school, both financially and getting the word around. The school also receives strong support from other major players in industry. Together, we share an ongoing role in shaping the curriculum of the PNG program as our industry continues to evolve.
“We are lucky to have such great industry partners such as Coterra Energy, SWN, and Williams supporting our program,” said Sue Gumble, program director at the School of PNG, which moved from to Tunkhannock from New Milford this year. “The money raised from this event enables us to continue providing exceptional education, which helps individuals obtain quality jobs in the petroleum and natural gas industry.”
Sue has been cited by PNG graduates and current students for being a motivational force behind their decision to enroll with Lackawanna College and their success as students, and we can see why. Sue helps each student realize their own potential and find their specific path into the gas fields. That includes steering them toward the internships that best match their respective interests and abilities.
“I chose the School of PNG because I wanted to further my technical skills for the industry,” Williams compression technician Crystal Bingham told us. She graduated from the school in 2020 after completing a successful internship with Coterra Energy. She was also the recipient of a Clay Shoot scholarship.
After serving as a student volunteer at the sporting clay tournament for two years, Crystal returned as a contestant on the Williams team this year and finished the day as the top female shooter on her course. For Crystal, the tournament was a way to pay it forward in the sense that she was able come back and support the school and see the students volunteering the same way that she once did. She said she enjoyed seeing several of her former instructors, especially Sue.
“Sue is very inspiring,” said first-year student Lauren Lesoine. After looking into the program online, she talked with Sue, and her mind was made up. Lauren is currently considering pursuing a starting position as a release operator, but she says she’s open to wherever the course takes her. The tournament gave her an opportunity to talk with many gas employees and has her excited about her internship later in the school year.
The Sporting Clay Tournament continues to bring together the industry to support the school and highlights the tremendous success of the program. When we gathered for lunch prior to announcing this year’s winners, I asked the crowd how many of their companies have employees from the school. More than half of them raised their hands.